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Northeast Ohio cities face consent decrees to repair sewer systems. What does that mean?

Nov 21, 2022

In the last month, the U.S. and Ohio Environmental Protection Agencies, along with the U.S. Department of Justice, entered into consent decrees with two Northeast Ohio communities, mandating cities make modernizing repairs to their sewer systems.

The consent decrees address sewer overflows into Lake Erie and Rocky River in Lakewood, and the Black River in Elyria, and intend to bring both cities sewer systems into compliance with the Clean Water Act.

A consent decree is a judicially enforceable contract for settlement between a regulatory agency, such as the EPA and the Department of Justice, and a regulated entity, like a city or sewer district, environmental attorney Lou McMahon, a partner with McMahon DeGulis in Cleveland, said.

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